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ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Lagarde in Paris & China inflation data (December 4-10)

Last week, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu brought the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget before lawmakers for their approval.

The budget, which is Tinubu’s first since assuming office in May, reveals a similar spending pattern when compared with the budgets of his immediate predecessor.

The government will spend at least six times more on debt service than on building new hospitals and schools and an over ambitious revenue target means Nigeria could be set to generate less cash than planned for the ninth straight year.

Norwegian oil and gas company, Equinor, also last week sold its Nigerian business to Chappal Energies, bringing an end to 31 years of doing business in Africa’s most populous nation.

Equinor is the latest of a list of international oil firms that includes Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp.  and Eni SpA to exit Nigeria.

On the data release front, the NBS was last week scheduled to publish the company income tax report for the third qone of Africa’s top oil produceris.  of 2023 but failed to do so. The federal government’s revenue from company income tax more than tripled to N1.53 trillion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023.

This week, there are a number of events to look out for. ECB President Christine Lagarde’s scheduled speech today could prove insightful ahead of the bank’s monetary policy meeting next week while critical China inflation data is likely to point to a more subdued recovery for the world’s second largest economy.

Read also: Our investment in Nigeria is driven by industry needs – AWS vice president

The following events are scheduled to take place this week.

Monday, December 4

Lagarde’s Paris speech

The global investor community will be monitoring the speech of European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde, on Monday, December 4 ahead of the ECB’s monetary policy meeting just a week later.

Lagarde, who will be making a speech at the French Academy of Moral and Political sciences (Academie des Sciences Morales et Politique) conference in Paris at 15:00 CET, said last week that the European Central Bank is likely to discuss speeding up the shrinkage of its balance sheet by ending the last of its bond purchases earlier than planned.

Her comments were the clearest sign to date that the bank is preparing to further tighten monetary policy by reducing the amount of bonds it plans to buy next year.

Several of the more hawkish members of the ECB have been calling for these reinvestments to end, saying the extra monetary stimulus is inconsistent with efforts to tame inflation by raising rates. They also point out that the pandemic crisis that initially justified the purchases has clearly ended. The ECB stopped much of its bond-buying last year. But it is still reinvesting the proceeds of maturing securities in the €1.7tn portfolio it started buying in response to the pandemic and has set out plans to continue doing so until at least the end of next year.

Wednesday, December 6

India’s interest rate decision

The Reserve Bank of India is expected to retain interest rates at 6.5% at the end of its three-day policy meeting starting Wednesday, December 6.

The Reserve Bank will be tempted to maintain the status quo with inflation in comfort zone and economic growth moving at an accelerated pace.

The RBI has left the benchmark policy rate (repo) unchanged in its past four bi-monthly monetary policy meetings.

The RBI, after a hike in February, ended its interest rate hiking spree which began in May 2022 in the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent disruptions in global supply chains which resulted in higher inflation.

Thursday, December 7

Honeywell board reviews Q3 performance where FX losses jumped

The board of Honeywell Flour Mills will meet on Thursday, December 7, to discuss, among other things, the company’s management report for the third quarter of the year.

This is according to a filing by the company on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX).

Honeywell reported a hefty loss of N8.63 billion due to the deprecation of the naira in the nine months through September 2023 as against N3.522 billion in the same period of 2022, representing a 145% increase

Saturday, December 9

China’s November inflation rate

China’s November  inflation rate is expected to point to a more subdued recovery front for the world’s second largest economy. November consumer prices are expected to stay in deflationary territory once more with a potential tick lower to -0.3% from the previous -0.2%.

China’s purchasing managers index (PMI) numbers for November failed to impress, with manufacturing activities dipping further into contractionary territory at 49.4, while services activities softened to a new 11-month low at 50.2. The data continues to reinforce the views that the recovery momentum for Beijing has been uneven.

The Chinese economy has shown mixed signs of recovery in recent months, leading economists to debate whether it will hit the government’s official gross domestic product growth target this year of 5 per cent, the lowest in decades.

 Prices fell into negative territory in July before edging back into growth in the months that followed.

The IMF last week upgraded its forecast for China’s GDP growth to 5.4 per cent, citing stronger support from policymakers, who have been easing monetary policy and restrictions on property purchases and mortgages to try to stabilise the real estate market.

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